In honor of National Pi Day, I made an Apple Crostata. Actually, it was a coincidence. The apples were on my counter, their fate already sealed before I realized today was March 14th. Sometimes things just work out.
A crostata is an Italian baked pie or tart. You might also see it called a rustic tart. Whatever you call it, it’s delicious. This dessert is easy to put together and it’s hard to go wrong with buttery flaky crust, baked apples and cinnamon.
I’ve been asked which apples are best for baking. There are so many varieties and a trip to the grocery store can be overwhelming if you aren’t sure which apple to use. I counted 10 different types of apples at my store. I’ll eliminate one easily for you – never use Red Delicious apples in a baked dish. They turn mushy and flavorless. I usually use Granny Smith apples, however, if you want to branch out and experiment, here’s a list of apples that are great for baking from The Kitchn. (The misspelling of kitchen makes my left eye twitch, but that’s how they do it.)
You’ll want to make the dough for the crust first, as it needs to chill for at least an hour. I’ve made this dough in a bowl and in a food processor and either work well. If using a processor, don’t overwork the dough. You want to see small chunks of butter. Cold butter and cold water are key when making any pie crust. This keeps the butter from melting. You don’t want the butter to melt until you bake it, because as the butter melts the water in the butter evaporates, which is what gives you a flaky crust. You can make this dough in advance and it can be frozen for up to a month. It’s not a bad idea to double the recipe and keep an extra in the freezer for your next dessert 😉
While the dough is chilling, prepare your apples. Be sure to slice your apples all the same size so they bake evenly. Mix all of your filling ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. If your dough isn’t quite ready yet, you can cover the bowl with a towel and leave on the counter until ready.
Preheat the oven, remove the dough from the fridge and roll out into roughly a 10″ round. As you can see from the pictures, mine is nowhere near a perfect circle…that’s why they call it a rustic tart. Less than perfect is the way to go with this dessert.
Place the dough onto your baking sheet, spoon the filling into the center, leaving a 1″ edge. Fold the crust over and crimp all of the holes and cracks shut. You don’t want that luscious filling to spill out all over the baking sheet! Brush the crust with an egg wash, which is an egg mixed with a couple teaspoons of water or milk. Sprinkle a generous amount of sugar all over the crust and slide into the oven.
I love the way this pie makes my kitchen smell. It might be 86° outside today, but it’s Fall in my house.
I added a new feature to the blog which lets you easily print out the recipe without printing the entire post. This is the first time using the feature, so please let me know if you have any problems. Enjoy!
1¼ cups (190 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter (cold)
3 Tablespoons water (ice-cold)
Mix flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Cut cold butter into small pieces and mix into the flour using a pastry blender or two butter knives. Don’t go too far, you want small chunks of butter. Using your hands, mix in 1 Tablespoon of ice-cold water at a time until the dough comes together. Flatten dough into a disk and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour.
5 cups (490 g) Granny Smith apples (about 4 medium)
¼ cup (55 g) sugar
¼ cup (50 g) brown sugar
2 Tablespoons (20 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon lemon zest (1 small lemon)
Peel apples and cut into even slices. Place into a medium bowl and toss with sugars, flour, cinnamon, salt and zest.
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or cooking spray.
Remove dough from the refrigerator and lightly flour a wooden board or counter. Roll dough into a 10″ round and transfer to the baking sheet. Place apples into the center of the dough, leaving at least a 1″ edge. Fold the dough over and crimp. Brush the dough with egg wash and sprinkle generously with sugar.
Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes and then place on wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!